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Busy, busy, busy

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

For the last several months I’ve directed most of my energy towards a Caspian Arts event coming up on July 31. We are holding our first annual studio tour and art raffle. The idea is participants will visit one–or all–of the nineteen open studios and earn a raffle ticket for each visit. The tickets are then entered into the art raffle at the end-of-the-day wine and cheese party. The raffle features a piece of work from each of the artists participating in the tour. This is a great chance for folks to win a piece of art that they might not otherwise be able to own.

It is our hope that this tour will give our members some exposure and introduce the large summer community to the talent that is lurking in the nooks and crannies of our small towns! I was astounded when Caspian Arts was formed to discover how many artists live around here.

I’m hoping for beautiful weather–bright sun, but too chilly to be a “beach” day–the kind of weather that will entice people to take a ride and seek out a new experience. I visited one of the studios on the tour today. It was in an area that I had never visited before. The dirt road was beautiful–towering trees on either side of the road, lots of old houses and pretty gardens to gawk at! Hills to climb, creeks to cross, cows to greet. What could be more fun! Let’s hope there are many adventurous folks who will get in the spirit and join us for a fun day!

A busy, fun weekend

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

I’ve been part of the state-wide Fall Foliage Open Studio Weekend yesterday and today and have had lots of interesting visitors. I’ve enjoyed showing my quilts, explaining my process and answering questions. Many folks have never seen an art quilt before and my studio is a real eye-opener for them. Here I am with one visitor whose husband Steve kindly took this photo…….

By far, the biggest attraction is my stash! It covers one whole wall of my studio and is looking very neat and tidy after three days of neatening, fluffing and primping. People are fascinated by the sight of so much fabric and the first questions is always about how it is organized–or not! I don’t actually organize my fabric because rummaging through random piles is part of the fun and serendipitous things happen when you are looking, but are not quite sure exactly what you are looking for!!

I like to explain my process so that people can appreciate the work and creativity that go into an art quilt. I have on display a small drawing, the large master pattern and a design that is cut out and ready to sew, which allows me to talk about the design process and how I approach it. People are usually fascinated with the creative process and learning about how something is made gives them a true appreciation for the work that they are looking at.

Of course, I also have quilts for sale, and here you see a selection on the design wall. My studio functions very well as a place to work, but I didn’t really plan a place to display the finished art. So my design wall is doing double duty this weekend!

The only trouble with being a participant in Open Studio Weekend is that I can not go to visit other artists’ studios. I love to see how other artists work and how they have organized their space.

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

As you all know, we have had a lot of weather excitement here in Vermont in the last month. Here in Greensboro we were very lucky. Rain fell in buckets, but our roads were only mildly damaged and most of our houses were safe. But the heavy rains have pretty much put an end to the growing season, and the threat of the hurricane prompted everyone to take their boats out of the water and bring in the lawn and porch furniture, pretty much bringing summer to an abrupt close.

Our summer is so short that we always hate to see it end, and this year more than ever. The leaves are starting to turn and foliage season will be here and gone before we know it. As I was driving the other day, I thought about foliage. It must be Mother Nature’s way of softening the blow of summer ending–one last beautiful spectacle before the trees are bare and the ground gets covered with snows.

The long winters certainly makes one appreciate the warmth and beauty of summer. It also encourages one to appreciate the subtle color changes and muted beauty of the winter landscape.

About a month ago, as I headed home from a long day in Montpelier, I watched a magnificent sunset unfold. I pulled into the public beach to admire the magnificent colors and found myself desperately wishing for a camera. Suddenly I remembered my cell phone. Even though I had no idea how to use my iphone as a camera and couldn’t even figure out where the veiw finder was, I managed to take this photo!! Mother Nature was showing off that evening!!

A Bird In The Hand

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Have you ever held a hummingbird in your hand? I have, and the most recent experience was about a week ago. We have a lot of hummingbirds around our feeder in the summer and we enjoy watching them eating, fussing with one another and checking out the flowers in the garden. However, one will periodically get trapped in our garage. We have three separate overhead garage doors and one or two of them are usually left open when the weather is nice. The bird flies in and can’t figure out how to get back out. He will generally fly up to the large windows that are above the doors and exhaust himself trying to get out up there.

We have tried all kinds of ways to help the bewildered bird find its way out of the garage, but none seem to work. Trying to catch them with a butterfly net is often futile because the ceiling of our garage is very high and wielding a net at the tip of a long pole is difficult and not very effective. From experience I have discovered that it is best to leave the bird alone until he is totally exhausted at which time he will land someplace and stay there because he is simply too tired to fly.

Here’s where the cool part comes in. Once the bird is exhausted I can either catch him with a net or pick him up in my hands. It is an incredible feeling to have this tiny creature in my hand. He seems to vibrate, either from fear or exhaustion, but after awhile calms down and becomes still. When he is settled a bit I take him to the feeder and dip his beak in the sugar water. It may take a few tries before he figures out that it’s food, but once he takes a sip or two, he begins to perk up, looking around and gradually taking note of his surroundings. You would think the sight of a human so close would terrify him, but it doesn’t seem to. He actually looks interested in what’s happening.

A few minutes after taking some sugar water, the bird regains enough strength to fly away, either to the top of a light fixture or a nearby tree. I don’t know if he stops to rest at that point, or heads straight towards home, but I am always very relieved to see him airborne again. I also don’t know whether it’s the same bird getting caught in our garage multiple times, or many different birds. I do know that it’s magical having such an intimate encounter with a hummingbird and I feel privileged to be a part of it’s life for a brief period of time. This last time I wanted to have a picture taken of me with the little guy in my hand, but didn’t dare take the time to locate the camera and get someone to shoot the picture. It seemed more important to get him to the feeder so he could regain his strength.

It would be great if we could figure out how to keep the hummingbirds out of our garage. Until then it’s nice to know that these encounters don’t have to be fatal and that I can come to the rescue when needed. And maybe next time I can get a picture!

Curve Unleashed Follow-up

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

My show in July was very successful which made all the preparation work worthwhile. I spent a long time preparing the smaller quilts for the exhibit. They were mounted on silk-covered foam core which could then be popped into a frame. I felt they looked more interesting and professional this way and I guess the public did too because a lot of them sold.

mounted piece

The best news from the show is that I raised a significant amount of money for the Greensboro Arts Alliance. This is a new organization in town which has brought theatre productions and readings to the community. This summer the biggest attraction was a staging of Peter Pan, complete with a professional stage manager from NYC, direction by Sabra Jones (founder of the Alliance), and flying equipment so that Peter could fly. I am proud that the proceeds from my show helped put on this production! However, the best part was that my friends and neighbors got a chance to see my work. Everyone in Greensboro knows that I am a quilter, but very few of them know or understand exactly what that means and this was my chance to show them. There was a steady flow of people through out the whole weekend and the reaction ranged from pleasure to astonishment. One of my friends (a male friend whom I have known since we were both in our teens) made the BEST comment. He was obviously surprised by my work and said so, then added, “I had no idea it was so….hum…hem…(searching for the right word here)….hem….ARTISTIC!!!! Thanks, Kevin!! What a great compliment!

Here’s the most exciting news

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

In just about a week I’m having a show of my work at the Lakeview Inn in Greensboro, Vermont. A champagne reception for” Curves Unleashed: Judy B. Dales’ Fiber Art” will be July 17 , 4:30 – 6:30 and the exhibit will be open Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 from 10 – 5.


Floral Forms II

Floral Forms II

This exhibit will be a benefit for the Greensboro Arts Alliance, a new organization that is bringing theatre productions and readings to our community. I will donate a percentage of any sales, the door donations and the proceeds of a silent auction to this fledgling organization.

Woman of Vision

Woman of Vision

The piece that is being auctioned off is Woman of Vision which is 34 x 34 inches. It features a woman’s silhouette and a glimpse into her mind. She is surrounded by various images of flora and fauna from our world and her concern for these things is symbolized by the teardrop shapes on the right. Her mind is whirling with concern and anxiety, but imbedded deeply within is the faint image of a dove holding an olive branch representing this woman’s strong wish for peace. The auction will start at the opening reception and will continue until 4:30 Sunday afternoon when the winner will be announced.


There will be more than two dozen quilts hanging and other smaller pieces on display, most of which are available for purchase. In addition there will be a new portfolio book for sale which features images and descriptions of nineteen quilts. I will be in attendance for the entire time and will be demonstrating some of my techniques, if time allows. I’m excited to be showing some new pieces for the first time and, as always, pleased to be sharing my work with friends, family and my community

The Lakeview Inn is a charming historic building here in my hometown that has recently been purchased and is now available for various functions. My work will be displayed in the larger public rooms. If you visit you will have the opportunity to enjoy the lovely gardens and Vermont Daylilies, a business situated at the rear of the property. If you come to the Champagne reception you could dine afterwards at the Highland Lodge which is just up the road (call for reservations: 802-533-7733) or at Claire’s, the new restaurant in Hardwick that is creating such a buzz. Highland Lodge is also famous for their excellent lunches and Brunch on Sunday! So, if you find yourself wandering around in the Northeast Kingdom, please come to the Lakeview. It is situated on Breezy Avenue which is the main street into Greensboro and should be easy to find.

I wasn’t kidding!

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

When I said check back in a year, I wasn’t kidding. It’s actually only been six months, but here I am again. I’ve finished the round piece, which is now square (almost). I think it’s actually an inch wider than it is long. I’m very pleased with the piece.
The fabric that I chose to surround the circular part of the design is a decorator fabric that has been in my stash for a long time. It has a wonderful sheen and enough pattern to make a really great border. It was a bit sleezy and raveled a lot, but otherwise is perfect for the job.

The method I used to create the central portion of this quilt produces such wonderful results. I love the wispy color and the delicate nature of the design. I used slightly darker thread for the quilting which adds definition to the pieces but doesn’t alter the subtle affect of the color.

Moon Dreams, ©2009 Judy B. Dales

Moon Dreams, ©2009 Judy B. Dales

Whenever I finish a piece using this technique I always wonder why I don’t make more pieces in this style. I finally decided that the process is so intense and unpredictable that it scares me. I also realized that I avoid this technique because it is so difficult to find the transparent fabrics for the overlays. However, now that I have tried dying my own silk, chiffon and gauze, I will have an unlimited supply!


I used a photo of this quilt on the cover of my new book. This is a small portfolio book that I have self-published using www.blurb.com. You can see the book there, and buy it if you wish!

New book!!

New book!!


The book was created to accompany the show I’m having in a few weeks . It contains photos and descriptions of 19 pieces, some older and a lot of new pieces. Click here if you would like to check it out: www.blurb.com


It was a new experience, working with blurb.com. I had a few frustrating moments at the beginning, but once I calmed down and took a deep breath, things improved. The program’s response time is not as fast as what I am used to. I suspect that is because it autosaves everything as you go along. It’s nice to know everything is saved, but I had to curb my impatience and give it time to do its thing. Once I got accustomed to the pace, I found the program easy to work with. I have yet to see the actual book, but it looks great on line.